Netflix’s When They See Us series has been getting big praise from viewers, but for the first time, the lead prosecutor in the case is speaking out about what she calls an “outright fabrication.”
Linda Fairstein, who was running the sex crimes unit in Manhattan in 1989, and lead the prosecution of the five boys in New York City for the rape of Trisha Meili, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, taking issue with the way both she and the case are represented.
The five boys in the case were Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, and Yusef Salaam.
Fairstein now acknowledges the five boys were innocent of the rape that occurred, but maintains they should not be fully exonerated.
Matias Reyes admitted to raping Meili alone in 2002, and DNA evidence supported the claim. Reyes was already in prison serving a life sentence over another charge.
Some of the issues Fairstein takes issue with are the conditions of how two of the boys are arrested in the series and that the boys are kept without food and away from their parents, in order to get specific statements.
Fairstein also says the admission by Reyes doesn’t take away from the other convictions the boys had, including first-degree assault, robbery, and rioting.
“Ms. [Ava] DuVernay’s film attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them,” said Fairstein in the article.
In addition to all charges being dropped in 2002 after Reyes admission, the boys won a $41 million dollar lawsuit against the state of New York in 2014. The state admitted no wrongdoing in the case.
Fairstein went on to become a very successful crime novelist.
When They See Us premiered on Netflix on May 31st. As reported by Deadline, Fairstein has been dropped by her publicist and her literary agent, ICM Partners, since the series was released.